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The Lupulin Exchange (LEx) is a community of commercial brewers who regularly need to rebalance hop positions, understand market conditions, as well as leverage data, technology, and collective buying power to source future hop requirements. The LEx platform allows brewers, merchants, and growers to list hops for sale, search for varieties to buy, set up Hop Alerts, and make secure transactions.

Since 2014, the LEx platform has substantially improved transparency, market allocations (a major contributing factor to the hop crisis of 2008-9), and community member decision making, while providing a means for convenient, secure transactions.

You can learn more about our team and The Lupulin Exchange at our community where we post regularly.

Who We Are

In 2011, John Bryce took over brewery operations at what was then Virginia's largest craft brewery. After refining many of the brewery's recipes & processes, the brewery wound up rather long on some hop varieties and short on others. Many hours were then spent renegotiating hop contracts signed by Bryce's predecessors. Eventually, John also made a classified post via the BA forum, offering to sell thousands of pounds of several different varieties. The post resulted in > 400 email inquiries in < 24 hours. What ensued was many hours spent replying to those messages, tracking which brewery had paid for which hops, verifying checks hadn't bounced, arranging shipment of those hops, etc. - time that would've been better spent decreasing DO levels, dialing in mill gap settings, perfecting pitch rates, cleaning, etc.

By 2014, after observing similar experiences, Bryce couldn't shake the feeling that there had to be a better way for breweries to even out their hop positions. The vibrant spot market that existed prior to the 2008/2009 "hop crisis" had dried up and brewery contracting rates had skyrocketed, but most breweries still needed to be nimble - decide to brew a Czech pils next week and be able to quickly get a small quantity of CZ Saaz, or to quickly shed 15% of their EKG liability without renegotiating a contract when their English pale ale sales fell short of projections.

That's when the idea for The Lupulin Exchange was born. With about $4,000 and plenty of grit, The Lupulin Exchange was launched in Sept of 2014. What began as a community of brewers selling excess hops to other brewers, eventually became a busy marketplace, full of merchants, growers, and nearly every brewery in the country, from the smallest nano to MillerCoors.

Our footprint may be big, but we are still the smallest of businesses. After operating for many years with only a single FTE + side-hustle contributions from the original founders (all of whom had day jobs), John finally stepped away from brewing in 2022 to focus on LEx full-time (although he still spends a few hours per week hosting the Master Brewers Podcast). Still privately held (zero debt & zero VC$), today, The Lupulin Exchange is operated exclusively by Bryce and a small team of only 2 web developers. If you submit a support ticket, it'll be answered by John Bryce, not some stranger in another country who doesn't understand what it's like to be a brewer. We have a lot of exciting plans in the pipeline and look forward to solving many more problems for brewers, merchants, and growers. We are incredibly thankful for your loyalty and grateful for your patience. We are imperfect but work hard to improve your experiences and solve your problems. If there is anything we can do to help, please let us know!


To unify & add radical transparency to the entire hop market

Core Values

  • Relentless improvement and innovation
  • Community
  • Think big and take smart risks
  • Honesty and fairness
  • Go the extra mile

The Team

John Bryce linkedin

John Bryce is a brewer, entrepreneur, and lover of all things technical brewing. He built his first brewery (Blacksburg Brewing Co.) on a shoestring budget in 2002 and his career continued at several Virginia breweries, including Capitol City, Old Dominion, and Starr Hill. John Bryce graduated from Versuchs- und Lehranstalt für Brauerei (VLB) in 2008.

In addition to LEx, John is host & producer of The Master Brewers Podcast, and brewmaster at Mount Ida Reserve. Fun fact: Many years ago, John brewed his first batch of homebrew with LEx co-founder, Shane Kunkle.

John Bryce

Shane Kunkle facebook

Shane Kunkle has had a lot more practice writing software than brewing beer. That’s why John gave him a call when the idea for The Lupulin Exchange started brewing. Over the past 19 years, Shane has built a number of successful software companies and is currently the Chief Operating Officer at DevResults.

Shane graduated with honors in Computer Engineering from Virginia Tech and is a Microsoft Certified Professional. His first professional lines of code were written for radar systems and high-speed buses at general motor’s forewarn group.

When he’s not writing code, you can find Shane with his wife and three sons (!) – drinking rye whiskey, coaching youth sports or working out (generally in that order).

Shane Kunkle

Jesse Pappas facebook

Jesse is a social psychologist, social drinker, and lover of all things beer. He's been friends with John Bryce and Shane Kunkle since their undergraduate days at Virginia Tech. Jesse opened a successful restaurant and spent considerable time behind bars (making drinks), but in wasn't until graduate school at University of Virginia that he learned the true value of a well-crafted beer.

Jesse now lives in the country with his wife KK, son Max, and cat Mel on Afton Mountain in Virginia.

Jesse Pappas

Darren Kopp @darrenkopp

Darren Kopp is a father, husband, software engineer, and gamer. Darren figured out how to program websites when he was 14 years old and has continued learning ever since. Darren is eager to apply his software chops to all kinds of problems, and is currently teaching himself as much as he can about machine learning. Darren also works on open source projects, speaks at conferences, and helps raise two children. Darren lives in Utah and enjoys soccer, paintball, gaming, and spending time with his family.

Darren Kopp